Leo Docherty MP celebrates Heritage Open Days 2019 by visiting the RAE Wind Tunnel in Farnborough with volunteers of the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST)
Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,000 organisations, 5,500 events and 40,000 volunteers. Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all free.
Leo said: "Thank you to volunteers from the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust for showing me around the incredible RAE Wind Tunnel, where aircraft from the Hurricane to the Tornado were tested, in Farnborough this weekend. I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to experience such a fantastic historical treasure that's right on our doorstep!"
Saved for the Nation in 1993 when the Ministry of Defence set out to demolish and sell the former RAE Site, the wind tunnel buildings are now listed. The 24-foot wind tunnel is named for the size of its jet orifice, which is 24 feet in diameter. The mahogany fan - such a feature of this tunnel - is in fact 30 feet in diameter. It was powered by a 2000 horse power DC electric motor and could produce an airspeed of up to 112 mph. The tunnel was a world class aerodynamic testing facility, opened in 1935 and in continuous use until 1996. The building is Grade 1 listed with Historic England.
You can find out more about Farnborough's rich aviation history, and the excellent work of the team at the FAST, by visiting their Museum at Trenchard House off the Farnborough Road in Farnborough -or free - on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday’s between 10am-4pm.